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Situating mobile health: a qualitative study of mHealth expectations in the rural health district of Nouna, Burkina Faso.

Situating mobile health: a qualitative study of mHealth expectations in the rural health district of Nouna, Burkina Faso.

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Situating mobile health: a qualitative study of mHealth expectations in the rural health district of Nouna, Burkina Faso.

Health Res Policy Syst. 2017 Jul 12;15(Suppl 1):47

Authors: Duclos V, Yé M, Moubassira K, Sanou H, Sawadogo NH, Bibeau G, Sié A

Abstract
BACKGROUND: The implementation of mobile health (mHealth) projects in low- and middle-income countries raises high and well-documented expectations among development agencies, policymakers and researchers. By contrast, the expectations of direct and indirect mHealth users are not often examined. In preparation for a proposed intervention in the Nouna Health District, in rural Burkina Faso, this study investigates the expected benefits, challenges and limitations associated with mHealth, approaching these expectations as a form of situated knowledge, inseparable from local conditions, practices and experiences.
METHODS: The study was conducted within the Nouna Health District. We used a qualitative approach, and conducted individual semi-structured interviews and group interviews (n = 10). Participants included healthcare workers (n = 19), godmothers (n = 24), pregnant women (n = 19), women with children aged 12-24 months (n = 33), and women of childbearing age (n = 92). Thematic and content qualitative analyses were conducted.
RESULTS: Participants expect mHealth to help retrieve patients lost to follow-up, improve maternal care monitoring, and build stronger relationships between pregnant women and primary health centres. Expected benefits are not reducible to a technological realisation (sending messages), but rather point towards a wider network of support. mHealth implementation is expected to present considerable challenges, including technological barriers, organisational challenges, gender issues, confidentiality concerns and unplanned aftereffects. mHealth is also expected to come with intrinsic limitations, to be found as obstacles to maternal care access with which pregnant women are confronted and on which mHealth is not expected to have any significant impact.
CONCLUSIONS: mHealth expectations appear as situated knowledges, inseparable from local health-related experiences, practices and constraints. This problematises universalistic approaches to mHealth knowledge, while nevertheless hinting at concrete, expected benefits. Findings from this study will help guide the design and implementation of mHealth initiatives, thus optimising their chances for success.

PMID: 28722558 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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